14 June 2009

Please, oh please don’t!

I amended my last post with an afterthought, a little tongue-in-cheek to lift the mood. And I need to lift my mood. Because I have been feeling a bit down these last few weeks. Is it the reactions to the emotional trauma we went through two and three months ago? Is it the reality of the full blown harshness of life, as I witnessed it around me when Cathal was in hospital, just hitting me now?

I know that the revelations of the Ryan Commission on Child Abuse at the hand of so called religious institutions still have me reeling. The results of the local and European elections 10 days ago are also for me a symptom that there has been something very wrong with this country in the last few years, and that at last our eyes are opening.

But what a mess! What a sorry depressing mess!

Then today I read Cathal’s Mammy’s post about Crumlin Hospital. It stirred up all those emotions again that I felt when we were there, when I used to join her and the Dad by Cathal’s side, or by the door of ICU, in that lift lobby she describes. I suppose we all need to go through those feelings again until we can exorcise them and lay them to rest, finally.

But what has me really, deeply angry, and sad, is the situation in Crumlin Hospital. Please go and read her post for full details. I do not have the heart to go through it again here. And she says it all so eloquently – and I am not biased here, I swear!

I have seen the situation deteriorating over the last year and half. Not just in Crumlin, but across all the hospitals. My job takes me into them on a regular basis. My role and that of my colleagues is one of support to the Irish Voluntary Hospitals ,and Crumlin Hospital is one of those places where I have learned to locate the back doors, and walk the corridors more than a year before Cathal was rushed there the day he was born.

How can our Minister for Health say that no front-line services will be affected by the cuts? How can she affirm that no patient will suffer because of the slashing in funding? Every day I witness the palpable panic of those working in the health sector. How on earth can they keep providing the same level of service, keep on saving lives, when they have so little funds that anyone who is out sick, or on maternity leave, or on a (more than well deserved) holiday, is not even replaced? How they keep on working, and with the grace and patience they show patients and their families, is beyond me. And I know what I am talking about; I talk to these incredible people almost every day.

The thing is, our health system is becoming caught in a catch 22 situation. It’s simple logic: the more people become unemployed thanks to the collapse of our economy, the less contributions to the 2% Health Levy (which goes straight from our pay-package to the Department for Health, via the Revenue Commissioners) – hence the lesser the revenue for the hospitals. At the same time, the more people become unemployed, the lesser number of people maintaining their private medical insurance (which has often been paid by employers), the greater the numbers depending on the public health system. Hence the more resource needed, but with less money available. See what I mean? Catch-Twenty-Two!

If this is not depressing, I don’t know what is.

But there is something we can do. Actually two things, simple, maybe even over-simplistic, but it can add to the pressure on our current government. And maybe, just maybe, get them to reconsider the budget cuts imposed on Crumlin Hospital. After all, this is THE only cardiac paediatric centre in Ireland, one of those “Centres of Excellence” so dear to Ms. Harney and Prof. Drumm.

So to say to the powers that be “Please, oh please don’t put the lives of our children at risk” you can:

- One, sign the on-line petition to save Crumlin Hospital, it takes only a minute (don’t mind the donation request that
follows your petition, once you click, after your name, you’re registered)
- Two, email all our Ministers, TD’s, Senators, and let them how you feel about these cut-

Every extra voice adds up, until the whisper becomes a roar of dissent.

I don’t feel any better after typing this post. But at least, my conscience is clear, I know I am not putting the lives of children at risk…

By the way, has any one yet realised that our Minister for Health has no mandate anymore? The political party she is supposed to represent in this coalition government has been dissolved, hasn’t it? Will it not cease to exist in a few weeks? So what is she still doing at the helm of our health system? I suppose no one is willing to take on this “burning hot potato”. So better leave her there, isn’t that right? Typical Irish answer to an Irish problem…? It would be funny if it was not so tragic!


    Lisa said...

    Done and Done!

    Mel said...

    I have read Cathal's Mammy's post- why is it that all over the world we bemoan the ever decreasing services available for our children?

    Cheer up Nan. P and have some chocolate and a cuddle with your wee man. It is summer for you- snowing here. Get some sunshine- good for the spirit.


    jazzygal said...

    Well done to you and Cathals Mammy for bringing this to our attention.
    I was aware of the impact of unemployment on the Health Levy...which is why the Govtmt increased the levy in the last budget. In fact the HSE was in dire financial straits then. Apparantly it still is. But guess what.... I DON'T CARE.

    Divert the money from somewhere else.

    Two things shouldn't suffer in a recession.....Health and Education.

    And your political point is quite correct. In fact I'd go further and say the whole Govt is out as the people made their point VERY clearly at the recent elections.

    Sometimes our"simplistic" views are simply the right ones. xx J